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Los Angeles Unified School District

333 South Beaudry Ave,


Los Angeles, CA 90017

Board of Education Report


File #: Rep-226-15/16, Version: 1
Adoption of Resolution Declaring Emergency Conditions Exist at Porter Ranch Community School and
Castlebay Lane Charter, and Authorization to Take Any and All Necessary Actions Related to the Emergency
Conditions to Ensure Health, Safety and Continuation of Public Education
Action Proposed:
Staff proposes that the Board of Education take the following actions related to the emergency
conditions at Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter:

1. Adopt a Resolution, attached hereto, declaring emergency conditions exist at Porter Ranch Community
School (Porter Ranch) and Castlebay Lane Charter (Castlebay) (collectively known as Affected
Schools) as a result of the natural gas leak at the Southern California Gas Company (a Sempra Energy
subsidiary) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

2. Authorize the Superintendent and/or his designee to take any and all actions necessary to ensure the
continuation of public education, and the health and safety of the students and staff at the Affected
Schools, including, but not limited to: the relocation of students and staff, daily student transportation,
and alterations/improvements to school property.

3. Authorize, by unanimous vote, under the provisions of section 20113 of the California Public Contract
Code:

a. The Chief Procurement Officer and/or his designee(s) to enter into any and all contracts
necessary, without advertising or inviting bids, to respond to the emergency conditions at the
Affected Schools, including, but not limited to: the relocation of students and staff, daily student
transportation, and alterations/improvements to school property; and

b. The use of force account labor, notwithstanding section 20114, to enable and support the
relocation of the Affected Schools.

4. Authorize the General Counsel to initiate litigation, if necessary, against Southern California Gas and/or
Sempra Energy to recover any and all District costs or other damages caused or incurred as a result of
the leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.
Los Angeles Unified School District

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File #: Rep-226-15/16, Version: 1
Background:
On October 23, 2015, Southern California Gas Company discovered a natural gas leak in one of its wells
located at its Aliso Canyon storage facility. The facility is located in the northern part of the San Fernando
Valley near the Porter Ranch community. Two of Districts schools, Porter Ranch Community School and
Castlebay Lane Charter are located in the Porter Ranch Community, approximately two miles and one mile
respectfully, from the Aliso Canyon storage facility. Porter Ranch serves approximately 1,100 students in
kindergarten through 8th grade, and Castlebay serves approximately 770 students in kindergarten through 5th
grade. These two schools have been significantly disrupted by the gas leak. Absenteeism and visits to the
health offices at each of these schools has significantly increased. Furthermore, since the leak was first
reported, families are opting out of attending school and are instead choosing independent study for their
children, while others have transferred to a different school. Additional requests for independent study
programs and school transfers continue.
Southern California Gas Company is currently anticipating it will take three to four months to stop the leak.
Until the leak is contained it is anticipated that Mercaptans, an odorant added to natural gas for safety reasons,
will continue to be released into the air in this community. It has been determined by the Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health (LADPH) that the emissions from the facility are causing health effects in some
individuals in the Porter Ranch community. Low levels of Mercaptans are causing continued short-term health
symptoms, such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing and nasal congestion, shortness of breath, nausea,
stomach discomfort, dizziness, and headaches.
The ongoing exposure to Mercaptans and the impact it is having on the learning environment at the Affected
Schools has created emergency conditions at Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter.
These conditions necessitate, among other things, the relocation of the students and staff at the Affected
Schools to alternative District property.
Expected Outcomes:
Staff anticipates that the Board of Education will adopt the attached Resolution declaring that emergency
conditions exist at Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter. It is further anticipated that
the Board of Education will authorize the Superintendent to take any and all actions necessary to ensure public
education continues to be provided to the students of the Affected Schools, and that student and staff health is
not impaired. It is also anticipated that the Board of Education will authorize the General Counsel to initiate
litigation, if necessary, against Southern California Gas and/or Sempra Energy to recover any and all District
costs or other damages caused or incurred as a result of the leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.
Board Options and Consequences:
If the Board of Education does not approve the proposed actions contained in this Board Report, staff will be
unable to take immediate and necessary action to 1) protect the short-term health of students and staff, and 2)
ensure the delivery of public education is not impaired for the students at the two Affected Schools.
Policy Implications:
The proposed actions are consistent with Rules 1757 and 1758 of the Rules of the Board of Education.
Budget Impact:
There will be a budget impact, however the amount is unknown at this time.
Issues and Analysis:
See attached Resolution.
Los Angeles Unified School District

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File #: Rep-226-15/16, Version: 1
Attachments:
Resolution by the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education declaring emergency conditions
exist at Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter.
Informatives:

Los Angeles Unified School District

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RESOLUTION BY THE LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF
EDUCATION DECLARING EMERGENCY CONDITIONS EXIST AT PORTER RANCH
COMMUNITY SCHOOL AND CASTLEBAY LANE CHARTER

WHEREAS, On October 23, 2015, Southern California Gas Company, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy,
discovered a natural gas leak in one of its wells located at its Aliso Canyon storage facility; located in the
northern part of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County near the Porter Ranch community; and
WHEREAS, Two of the Los Angeles Unified School Districts (LAUSD) schools, Porter Ranch
Community School (Porter Ranch) and Castlebay Lane Charter (Castlebay), are located in the Porter
Ranch Community, approximately two miles and one mile respectively, from the Aliso Canyon storage
facility; and
WHEREAS, Porter Ranch serves approximately 1,100 students in grades kindergarten through 8th and
Castlebay serves approximately 770 students in grades kindergarten through 5th; and
WHEREAS, the primary component of natural gas is methane, an odorless and colorless gas, and
according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), the primary safety hazard
associated with methane is its flammability; and
WHEREAS, The LADPH has advised that natural gas itself poses little direct health threat upon
inhalation in an outdoor space;
WHEREAS, For safety reasons, trace amounts of odorants called Mercaptans are added to natural gas, so
that gas leaks are easily detectable; and
WHEREAS, Mercaptans have a strong rotten-egg, garlicky, or skunk-like odor, that can be irritating to
the eyes, skin, and respiratory system at low levels; and
WHEREAS, The LADPH is receiving daily complaints from Porter Ranch residents regarding strong
odors from the Aliso Canyon site, and more than 1,000 odor complaints have been logged by the South
Coast Air Quality Management District; and
WHEREAS, According to the LADPH, the natural gas leak is currently releasing low levels of
Mercaptans that can escape most monitoring equipment, however individuals are detecting these odors,
and these low exposures are causing eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing and nasal congestion,
shortness of breath, nausea, stomach discomfort, dizziness, and headaches; and
WHEREAS, On November 19, 2015, the LADPH issued a directive to Southern California Gas to
continue the abatement of odorous emissions in the area on an expedited basis, and, in the interim, to offer
free, temporary relocation to any area residents affected by the odors of the Aliso Canyon site, to date
nearly 3,000 households have requested relocation and approximately 1,700 have been relocated; and
WHEREAS, The LADPH has determined that the exposures do not constitute an immediate danger to
life, and permanent or long-term health effects are not expected, however; daily, short-term symptoms are
occurring and expected to continue as long as the odors remain; and
Bd. of Ed Rpt No. 226-15/16

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Board of Education
December 17, 2015

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RESOLUTION BY THE LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF
EDUCATION DECLARING EMERGENCY CONDITIONS EXIST AT PORTER RANCH
COMMUNITY SCHOOL AND CASTLEBAY LANE CHARTER

WHEREAS, Efforts by Southern California Gas Company to stop the leak and cap emissions from the
well site continue; and
WHEREAS, On December 7, 2015, Sempra Energy and Southern California Gas Company issued a
media statement on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility that stated the drilling of a relief well
will be used to intercept the leaking well and stop the leak is expected to take three to four months; and
WHEREAS, Southern California Gas Company further states that it is not possible at this time to
accurately measure the amount of natural gas being lost from the leak; and
WHEREAS, Public education at the two affected schools has been significantly disrupted due to the
Aliso Canyon gas leak and the short-term impacts to health being experienced at the affected schools are
headaches, stomachaches, nosebleeds, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are anticipated to continue
until the leak can be stopped; and
WHEREAS, LAUSDs Student Medical, Nursing, and Employee Health Team has been closely
monitoring the health issues being experienced at Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane
Charter; and
WHEREAS, The number of student health office visits at the affected schools have been elevated since
the end of November, with the number of visits ranging from 12 to 34 daily for the week of November 30
- December 4, 2015, with 37% sent home; and ranging from 9 to 38 daily for the week of December 7-11,
2015, with 42% sent home; and
WHEREAS, After the gas leak was reported, LAUSDs Local District Northwest Operations Team
began receiving requests from Porter Ranch and Castlebay guardians to enroll their student(s) in an
independent study program or to transfer to a different school. Approximately 5% (nearly 60 students) of
the Porter Ranch student body has chosen an independent study program and 1% (approximately 10
students) has transferred to other schools. At Castlebay, approximately 10% (nearly 70 students) of the
students have chosen an independent study program; and
WHEREAS, Absences have significantly increased at the two affected schools since the gas leak was
first reported. For the week of October 19-23, 2015, the combined absences for the affected schools was
188, and for the week of December 7-11, 2015, the combined absences exceeded 1,400. In fact, on
December 14, 2015, alone 275 students were absent from the affected schools; and
WHEREAS, The sudden, unexpected natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility has resulted
in unsafe, emergency conditions at Porter Ranch and Castlebay that are not conducive to learning, and
immediate action is required to mitigate the impairment to student and staff health, and ensure the
delivery of the educational program which is an essential public service; and

Bd. of Ed Rpt No. 226-15/16

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Board of Education
December 17, 2015

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RESOLUTION BY THE LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF
EDUCATION DECLARING EMERGENCY CONDITIONS EXIST AT PORTER RANCH
COMMUNITY SCHOOL AND CASTLEBAY LANE CHARTER

WHEREAS, On December 15, 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion
and proclamation finding the gas leak has resulted in a local emergency. The Board of Supervisors
forwarded the proclamation to the Governors Office of Emergency Services with a request that the
Director find it acceptable and seeking a Governors proclamation under the California Disaster
Assistance Act. The Board of Supervisors also directed that all County departments implement
assessment and monitoring efforts; and
WHEREAS, On December 16, 2015, the LADPH issued a supplemental directive, consistent with its
November 19, 2015 directive to the Southern California Gas Company, and further directed the Southern
California Gas Company to assist the LAUSD in temporarily relocating affected students and staff of
Porter Ranch and Castlebay to alternative school facilities; and
WHEREAS, It has been determined that relocating the two affected schools to alternative District
facilities will best ensure the health and safety of students and staff and the continuation of the essential
public service of education; and
WHEREAS, Section 1102 of the Public Contract Code defines "emergency to mean a sudden,
unexpected occurrence that poses a clear and imminent danger, requiring immediate action to prevent or
mitigate the loss or impairment of life, health, property, or essential public services, and section 21060.3
of the Public Resources Code and California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines 14 CCR section
15269(c) defines emergency to mean a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and
imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health,
property, or essential public services. Emergency includes such occurrences as fire, flood, earthquake,
or other soil or geological movements, as well as such occurrences as riot, accident, or sabotage.
WHEREAS, Under California Public Contract Code Section 20113, in an emergency when any repairs,
alterations, work, or improvement is necessary to any facility of public schools to permit the continuance
of existing school classes, or to avoid danger to life or property, the Board may, by unanimous vote, with
the approval of the county superintendent of schools, do the following: make a contract in writing or
otherwise on behalf the district for the performance of labor and furnishing of materials or supplies for the
purpose without advertising for or inviting bid; and, notwithstanding section 20114, authorize the use of
day labor or force account labor for the purpose; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified
School District:
(1) Determines that the circumstances described in the Resolution herein constitute an emergency
condition; and

Bd. of Ed Rpt No. 226-15/16

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Board of Education
December 17, 2015

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RESOLUTION BY THE LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF
EDUCATION DECLARING EMERGENCY CONDITIONS EXIST AT PORTER RANCH
COMMUNITY SCHOOL AND CASTLEBAY LANE CHARTER
(2) By unanimous vote pursuant to section 20113 of the Public Contract Code and subject to
approval by the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, authorizes the execution of
contracts without advertising or inviting bids; and, notwithstanding section 20114, authorizes
the use of day labor or force account labor to respond to the emergency conditions at Porter
Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter.

PASSED AND ADOPTED by the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District at 333
South Beaudry Avenue, Los Angeles, California, on the 17st Day of December, 2015, by the following
vote:
AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTENTIONS:
___
Steve Zimmer
Board President

STATE OF CALIFORNIA )
) SS.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
)
I,
, Clerk of the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified_
School District of Los Angeles California, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a full, true and correct
copy of a resolution adopted by said board at the regularly scheduled and conducted meeting held at the
time and place stated, which resolution is on file and of record in the office of said board.
Clerk

Bd. of Ed Rpt No. 226-15/16

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Board of Education
December 17, 2015

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AGN. NO.
MOTION BY SUPERVISOR MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

DECEMBER 15, 2015

On Friday October 23, 2015, conditions of disaster arose as a result of the discovery of a
leak at the natural gas storage wells at Aliso Canyon storage field affecting the City and County
of Los Angeles. The site is adjacent to residential properties in the Porter Ranch neighborhood.
Daily complaints are being received from residents regarding strong odors from the Aliso
Canyon site. Over 1000 odor complaints have also been logged by the South Coast Air Quality
Management District. Common health complaints include nausea, dizziness, vomiting,
shortness of breath, and headaches. Complaints are associated with the detection of sulfurtype odors. These health complaints are consistent with inhalational exposure to mercaptans. It
should be understood that odors alone can be directly responsible for health effects, and that
these health effects currently reported by area residents are consistent with exposure to
mercaptans. Due to these conditions over 2800 inquiries have been made about relocation and
over 1000 residents have been relocated.
Due to the leak several County of Los Angeles Departments have engaged in response
and monitoring activities, participation in daily conference calls, attending community meetings
and fielding telephone calls from residents. The increasing number of concerned and displaced
residents, health concerns in the community and the uncertainty of when the well will be capped

MOTION
RIDLEY-THOMAS____________________________
KUEHL

____________________________

KNABE

____________________________

ANTONOVICH

____________________________

SOLIS

____________________________

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has necessitated the proclamation of the existence of a local emergency within Los Angeles
County.
This emergency will require ongoing assessment and monitoring of the impacted area to
ensure the safety of all residents as well as all personnel including law enforcement, fire, public
health and public works as they conduct on-going assessment and monitoring in addition to the
efforts by state and federal agencies along with the private industry.
I, THEREFORE, MOVE that the Board:
1. Ratify the attached proclamation made on December 10, 2015 for the natural gas leak
discovered in the Aliso Canyon on October 23, 2015. This proclamation shall remain in
effect until its termination is proclaimed by the Board;
2. Forward a copy of the proclamation to the Director of California Governors Office of
Emergency Services with the request that the Director find it acceptable in accordance
with State law; and request that a Governors Proclamation be provided under the
California Disaster Assistance Act; and
3. Direct County Departments to implement all assessment and monitoring efforts as
applicable.
#
MDA:amg

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PROCLAMATION OF EXISTENCE OF A LOCAL EMERGENCY BY THE CHAIR OF


THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND REQUEST FOR A
STATE PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS, Chapter 2.68 of the Los Angeles County Code empowers the Chair of the
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to proclaim the existence of a local
emergency when the County is affected or likely to be affected by a public calamity and
the Board of Supervisors is not in session; and
WHEREAS, the Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors finds that
beginning October 23, 2015, conditions of disaster arose as a result of the discovery of
a leak at the natural gas storage wells at Aliso Canyon storage field affecting the City
and County of Los Angeles which has created conditions that are beyond the control of
local resources; and
WHEREAS, the leak has resulted in the displacement of residents from their homes,
health-related issues for residents, and air quality issues in the area surrounding the
gas leak; and
WHEREAS, these conditions warrant and necessitate that the County proclaim the
existence of a local emergency;
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED by the Chair of
the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that a local emergency exists throughout
Los Angeles County, and that if the Board does not take action to ratify this emergency
proclamation within seven days of its issuance, it shall have no further force or effect;
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND PROCLAIMED that during the existence of said local
emergency the powers, functions, and duties of the emergency organization of the
County shall be those prescribed by state law, by ordinances, and resolutions of the
County; and
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND PROCLAIMED that a copy of this proclamation be
forwarded to the Director of California Governors Office of Emergency Services
requesting that the Director find it acceptable in accordance with State law; that the
Governor of California, pursuant to the Emergency Services Act, issue a proclamation
declaring an emergency in Los Angeles County; that the Governor waive regulations
that may hinder response and recovery efforts; that recovery assistance be made
available under the California Disaster Assistance Act; and that the State expedite
access to State and Federal resources and any other appropriate federal disaster relief
programs.
Date: December 10, 2015
,
Hilda L. Solis
Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

HOA. 1659795.1

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